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Published: 2011-01-18 00:00:00

Waikato Civil Defence is warning people to prepare for the dangers posed by the wild weather expected to hit the Waikato region later today.

Group Controller, Scott Fowlds, said heavy rain and high winds had been forecast for much of the country and was expected in the Waikato by 4pm.

“As a result of the extended period of dry weather, there is the potential for surface flooding, as well as slips on some of the region’s rural roads,” Mr Fowlds said.

“Road surfaces could become slick, so motorists should reduce their speeds and increase their following distances to minimise their risk of a serious crash.

“The predicted high winds could also pose a risk, so any loose items need to be stored or secured over the next two days. Motorists towing caravans should also take extra care.”

Mr Fowlds urged campers to take extra safety measures, including moving to higher ground, away from rivers and streams.

“Tents should also be well-secured and any loose items safely stored,” he said. Water users should always check conditions prior to entering the region’s coastal areas and adhere to all warnings.

Mr Fowlds also urged members of the public not to endanger their lives by entering either flood waters, or swollen rivers or streams.

Waikato Civil Defence is also working closely with Environment Waikato to monitor the region’s rainfall and river levels.

Further information can be found by visiting www.waikatoregioncdemg.govt.nz, http://www.metservice.com and http://www.aa.co.nz